1. The Bass Sherpa
  2. Basses
  3. Saturday, 30 December 2006
  4.  Subscribe via email
I've had many bass guitars over the years, many with active p'ups.

I just tried out a MM Bongo. Man, what great tone. BUT, it comes only with an active p'up setup. 18 volts.
For years now, I have refused to even consider purchasing an active bass, no matter how nice it sounds or looks...

It reminded me of my attitude that active pups are like a woman with great make up, improving, but ultimately, a misrepresentation of the inherant qualities, and the effect is temporary, like batteries.

Am I alone on this?

Stuck up? Lazy?

What's your opinion on this topic?
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
John H. Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I think tone is tone. If you like what the bass puts out, go for it no matter how it is achieved.

Maybe it's kinda like a woman with permanent makeup -- once on, it never comes off -- the improvement is a permanent feature.

I happen to like the ABII that I have because it offers both active and passive. In the month plus that I've had it I find that I do run it in active mode most of the time, with subtle adjustments up from flat on both bass and treble, depending on which pickups are selected and where the bulEQube is set.

I also love the sound of my MM Stingray, but have found only one tone setting that really hits the target for my ears whereas I have found several sweet spots on the ABII so far.

That's my 2 cents. Hope it helps.

John
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 1
Mark L Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="The Bass Sherpa":36obycdn]I've had many bass guitars over the years, many with active p'ups.

I just tried out a MM Bongo. Man, what great tone. BUT, it comes only with an active p'up setup. 18 volts.
For years now, I have refused to even consider purchasing an active bass, no matter how nice it sounds or looks...

It reminded me of my attitude that active pups are like a woman with great make up, improving, but ultimately, a misrepresentation of the inherant qualities, and the effect is temporary, like batteries.

Am I alone on this?

Stuck up? Lazy?

What's your opinion on this topic?[/quote:36obycdn]

I've never analyzed it that much. Actives are just another approach, like low impedence and piezos, in the quest for The Ultimate Tone, whatever that is. I have active and passive Dingwalls/regular basses, but I don't really have a routine as to when I use them. That decision would be based on the number of strings I needed that song or set, not so much the electronics. I usually alternate my AB and SJ, tweak the amp to compensate for the electronics, and carry on.


Mark
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 2
Dragonlord Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
First, active pickups and active electronics are two different things.
Second, I agree that an onboard preamp might not be necessary, but I fail to understand how it is a "misrepresentation of the inherant qualities", as you already use a preamp anyway to create your sound. The inherant qualities are obvious in acoustic instruments, with electric bass there are so many things in between that I think one more link in the chain is usually a non-issue.
That said, I had an active Warwick Corvette that, when played passive was nice, growly and woody, and when the active circuit was engaged the sound became "artificial" and plastic... but that was because of the bad quality MEC preamp and not because of the fact that there was a preamp, as with most high-end preamps the sound doesn't change dramatically. And the Aguilar that Dingwall uses is pretty transparent.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 3
Smallmouth_Bass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I have found that active basses often (not always) lose some of the nuances that passive ones have.

I run my ABII passive 99.8% of the time and to tell you the truth, I haven't really even explored the active electronics (that's why the hybrid passive treble cut is so appealing to me). I am sure it does sound good, but I just haven't required it yet. That and I usually use my ABI and ABII interchangeably (generally one per set), so the levels and settings on my equipment don't require any re-adjustment.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 4
lomo Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
First, what sounds good is a matter of personal taste. I don't believe there's an objective, correct answer to this question, but it's a dead horse that I absolutely love to beat! I like the sound of many active basses and I am much more able to quickly dial a good slap tone with a 3-band onboard pre. BUT.....I don't slap much and I prefer the smoother, more subtle tone of flats played fingerstyle. For me, in art as in science and most things in life, there is elegance in simplicity. I try to avoid batteries in everything I own, from thermometers to watches, as they're an environmental liability and just another thing to replace/maintain. More is only truly more if something worthwhlie is added-so for me and my basses, less is more. I've never heard better tone than my old AB1 in series with flats and the tone knob backed off 80%, but I found 37" too long for my paws/chops. If I could get a passive SJ5, even for an upcharge, I'd do it.....but I can't.
Attachments (1)
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 5
fullrangebass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
When it comes to Bass playing, i started out with my left foot: 5 string Hammer Chapparal US w/ EMG's DC40. That set a high standard for my naive (bass-wise) ears. I went through many basses and pickup brands, both passive and active, but up until few years ago, Active was my choice. Even though I appreciate the dynamics of passive pickups, not many passive pickups were able to translate the Low notes (esp low B, Bb or even Ab) with authority and clarity without sounding boomy or loosing Bottom. The first shock was when I tried the FD1's. They were what I was looking and waiting for (the FD3's and Artist Prima are as great in translating the inheritent sound of the strings into something pleasantly audible). The other shock was with Villex pickups and mid-control; they transformed a bass-to-be-sold to a Definitely-a-keeper bass. So now I am a pro-Passive pickup bass player (under the right conditions meaning "pickups-that-live-to-my-standards").

(the next part needs to add IMHO, at the end of every serntence)
The preamp should be the seasoning. No preamp can add something missing and no dramatic change can be made without altering the personality of the instrument (if that is the desired goal, it means we have the wrong bass in our hands). If the preamp is used as a booster then many nuances of the player's touch are not as obvious (even though I hardly use any pre-amp, I prefer to set the pickup boost at 0 so there is no noticable bump of volume when changing from active to passive and vice versa). A transparent preamp is a welcome addition for those who would like to use it to season their sound.

I would like to clarify that most pickups are passive but some need the active circuit (battery engaged) to get their level to become audible.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 6
Franco Bollo Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
One thing that nobody has mentioned is that the on-board preamp will buffer the pickups, so that they don't "see" the impedance of the cable. Although subtle, the cable (especially a long 20 foot one) can alter the sound.

As far as the preamp misrepresenting the inherent qualities of the pickups, filtering the mojo, etc., the Aguilar preamps are pretty natural sounding. If the tone controls are set flat, switching from active to passive doesn't really change the sound much.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 7
fullrangebass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="amodeo@mitre.org":19wz3pgc]One thing that nobody has mentioned is that the on-board preamp will buffer the pickups, so that they don't "see" the impedance of the cable. Although subtle, the cable (especially a long 20 foot one) can alter the sound.

As far as the preamp misrepresenting the inherent qualities of the pickups, filtering the mojo, etc., the Aguilar preamps are pretty natural sounding. If the tone controls are set flat, switching from active to passive doesn't really change the sound much.[/quote:19wz3pgc]

+1. But very long cables are loading the signal anyway so I keep mine as short as possible (up to 15 feet).

I am still looking for a good wireless that will not compress or alter the tone. Any tried and true suggestions?
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 8
Franco Bollo Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
Regarding long cables after a preamp - yes, the impedance will perhaps attenuate the signal slightly, but as far as changing the sound, the preamp will keep that cable impedance from "loading" the pickup, so it certainly is not as critical as with a passive bass.

Regarding wireless, I use a Shure ULXP, which sounds pretty good to me.

It is amazing how many wireless units marketed for bass have frequency responses only down to 50Hz or so. The Shure ULXP has a response of 25Hz-15kHz, +/-2dB. Does it sound as good as a good cable? No way! But bear in mind that this is coming from a guy that hears differences among different "good cables". However, for live situations, it is certainly good enough.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 9
Razman Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
When I had my Voodoo, the output of the Barts was just way too low to use them passive. I always had to run active with the gain all the way up, and even then it was slightly weak. I preferred the tone of them passive; the Bart 3-band EQ changed it slightly when engaged. Not any worse, but I could just tell.

The Cirrus I play at my church is all active, all the time. It has fantastic tone. Since I have no way of hearing it passive and the fact that it already sounds great, I don
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 10
Texas Bred Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
Hey there FRB,

I use the shortest cables possible for my effets, used very sparingly, in the effect loop on my rack pre.

I now use a Sennheiser Digital 1000 wireless unit. I've compared the sound to my high-end Monster Studio Pro 1000's, Pro-Co's Defender, and Alessandro Instrument Pro's as well as my other wireless units.

I've used Shure, Nady, other Senn's, and EV wireless units.

Summary: The D1000 is the best wireless unit I've ever used. Doesn't change the sound AT ALL. The highs, mids, lows, nuances, and sweetness is all there (spot on). No problems with connection and always a strong signal. Mind you that I am an audiophile, with the "Golden Ears", and I have listened very closely and quietly, in my house, and I use my cables rarely now.

Senn D1000's are out of production now, but you might be able to find a good used one. I think if you tried one you would agree.

TB
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 11
fullrangebass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
Happy New year to all of you and your families.

Thanks for the suggestions on the wireless. I will try and let you know my opinion. I am sure that you guys have better ears than mine :wink: .
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 12
BurningSkies Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I'm thinking about the new X-Wire/X2 wireless thats out in the next week or so. It lists for around 500, but the street price is 350...and I've heard nothing but good things about the discontinued model. It could be a winner that won't break the bank.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 13
maxvintage Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I like passive, although it's true what frank said--a good preamp, like the aguilar, sounds pretty transparent when it's set flat. I'm not sure why I like passive better.

Partly it sounds more "natural" to me, maybe. I'm not really interested in getting a hi-fi sound--I'm happy to lose most of the high end and live in the lows and low mids. Active preamps--like radical eq settings on an amp--tend to make my ears tired. If I want to change the sound I usually try cutting before boosting--don't boost treble, cut bass. Passive has cut only, for the most part, which is to my mind why it sounds better

Partly it's that the more knobs, the more I fidget. Ever play one of those instruments with 250 different pickup combinations (series, parralel out of phase, coil tap etc.)? It's just kind of annoying. Just get a good tone and alter it slightly. Get a tone that's yours and that works. I love playing my double bass partly because the tone is really all in the hands. I had a bass with a three band eq and an oboard variable mid frequency sweep--I spent way too much time screwing aorund with it

Partly the battery thing really bugs me. I head out to a gig--when did I last change the battery? Did I bring a replacement? A screwdriver? Is that sound I hear distortion, caused by a bad battery? etc., etc. I just like the reliability and simplicity of passive.

Obviously, active works for many people, and I'm no pro, just a local gigger. But after a lot of years and a lot of basses I'm just really happy wikth passive
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 14
rockbobmel Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="BurningSkies":30rqscul]I'm thinking about the new X-Wire/X2 wireless thats out in the next week or so. It lists for around 500, but the street price is 350...and I've heard nothing but good things about the discontinued model. It could be a winner that won't break the bank.[/quote:30rqscul]I had an original x-wire and liked it but I think I did lose some of the FEEL. I wonder if the new ones are better. Thanks for the heads up.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 15
Texas Bred Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
Hey Burnin,

Sennheiser bought out X-Wire a few years ago and produced their D1000. Are you saying someone is now reproducing them again?

Hey MaxV,

I've always thought; If you want a Fender sound, get a Fender; If you want a Gretcsh or Gibson sound, get one of those. That's what many guitarist's and bassist's do

TB
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 16
BurningSkies Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="Texas Bred":29mj1d7h]Hey Burnin,

Sennheiser bought out X-Wire a few years ago and produced their D1000. Are you saying someone is now reproducing them again?

Hey MaxV,

I've always thought; If you want a Fender sound, get a Fender; If you want a Gretcsh or Gibson sound, get one of those. That's what many guitarist's and bassist's do

TB[/quote:29mj1d7h]

The original X-Wire guys have started up again as 'X2', using their own technology.

http://www.x2digitalwireless.com/
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 17
maxvintage Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
[quote="Texas Bred":poreu379]

Hey MaxV,

I've always thought; If you want a Fender sound, get a Fender; If you want a Gretcsh or Gibson sound, get one of those. That's what many guitarist's and bassist's do

TB[/quote:poreu379]

??? where did I say I wanted "a fender sound?"
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 18
Texas Bred Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
Sorry MaxV,

That was meant for someone else on another thread. I had 3 pages going at one time. I just got you mixed up with someone else.
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 19
bigmanonbass Accepted Answer Pending Moderation
Registered
0
Votes
Undo
I started playing electric bass in the summer of '74 with a fretless Fender P-bass (it's name is Thor just in case anyone was wondering :wink: ). I've played passive basses ever since. Now, I've been looking for a 5 string bass for a long, long time. A lot of these basses had active pickups or active electronics and some of them might even have had both. Well, I just bought the 5 string love of my life...a Dingwall (grin, of course) Afterburner I (passive, natch).

The reason I've stayed with passive basses is two fold...first and foremost is that if I need to juice up my sound I can always add an outboard pre-amp. In my opinion why clutter up the bass with extra electronics that can go wrong during a performance? Secondly, and, in retrospect maybe more important the number one, your sound is your sound. I've noticed, as I've tried out different basses over the years, that I sound like me, no matter what the electronics in the bass are. I can sound more modern or more...shall we say 60's Fender like...but it's still me. And once I realized that I could really control the changes in era at the amp...I decided that my bass should be simple and direct. Now I know that this is not the right approach for everyone...and I'm not trying to convert anyone to my style of buying a bass...but I agree with Jaco that the sound is in your hands and everything else is, well, maybe not irrelevant, but not going to get you hired or fired as a bass player.

By the way...my new Dingwall (it's name is Odin by the way...grin) just made all my other basses back up instruments...Thanks Sheldon, I'm in love again.

Greg Dickinson
Comment
There are no comments made yet.
  1. more than a month ago
  2. Basses
  3. # 20
  • Page :
  • 1
  • 2


There are no replies made for this post yet.
However, you are not allowed to reply to this post.